Sunday, September 27, 2009

Hotel Terbaik 2009



BERSAMAAN dengan dilangsungkannya pemilihan Hotel Terbaik Indonesia 2009 versi online, Redaksi National Geographic Traveler juga menggelar sarasehan yang dilangsungkan di Fpod, FX Entertainment X’ntre, Jakarta. 

Dihadiri para peserta panel diskusi dari berbagai latar-belakang bidang kekhususan, seperti William Wongso (pakar kuliner), Jay Subijakto (pekerja dan penikmat seni), Muhammad Gunawan ‘Ogun’ (pendaki gunung), Amir Sidharta (pengamat seni), Riyani Djangkaru (presenter), Burhanuddin Abe (pemimpin majalah travel dan kuliner), Ade Purnama ‘Adep’ (komunitas pejalan), Siti Kholifah (produser acara traveling di televisi) dan Heryus Saputro (jurnalis senior). 

Ada sederet penilaian yang bisa dituangkan untuk kategori sebuah tempat menginap. Dengan tidak mengadakan perbedaan berdasar klasifikasi daya tampung dan kategori hotel secara umum. 

Seperti misalnya kata ‘hotel’ yang selama ini digunakan untuk menyebut akomodasi komersial dirasa kurang tepat. Karena pada dasarnya, tempat menginap tak dapat diklasifikasikan rata atau standar begitu saja. Tapi mesti mengandung keunikan yang membuatnya berbeda, tetap disukai dan ingin dikunjungi kembali.
William Wongso, mengungkap, “Di masa depan, masyarakat ingin mendapatkan sesuatu yang pribadi. Hingga tempat menginap juga harus memiliki sebuah personality. Bukan sekadar untuk bermalam, juga bukan kategori the best.” 

Hal yang disorot mendalam, juga tingkat kepedulian penginapan akan lingkungan hidup. Berbagai seruan dan komentar mengalir deras saat topik ini dilempar pada peserta diskusi panel. Hotel dilengkapi restoran dengan masakan satwa langka atau dilindungi dianggap memprihatinkan. Terlebih bila promosi diadakan besar-besaran hingga tampil di media cetak atau papan pariwara pinggir jalan. 

Di lain pihak, para peserta sarasehan memberikan dukungan terhadap berbagai penginapan yang menerapkan konsep green living atau usaha-usaha mendukung pelestarian alam. Seperti ajakan kepada para tamu berupa kartu petunjuk di kamar mandi agar tidak setiap hari mengganti handuk, karena pencuciannya melibatkan deterjen dan penggunaan air. Dengan berhemat semisal 2 - 3 hari sekali baru diganti, pihak penginapan pun sudah memberi masukan positif terhadap upaya pelestarian. 

Demikian pula beberapa tindakan penginapan yang peduli lingkungan, seperti mengganti pemakaian kantong plastik pakaian kotor (laundry bag) dengan kantong kain daur ulang serta bisa dipakai lebih dari sekali. Atau wadah-wadah sabun mandi dan sampo dari material non-plastik yang bisa diisi kembali (refill). 

Berikut hotel favorit 2009 pilihan peserta sarasehan Hotel Terbaik 2009 National Geographic Traveler; 

Hotel Niagara (Lawang),
Hotel Majapahit (Surabaya), 
Roemahkoe Bed and Breakfast (Solo),
Hotel Candi Baru (Semarang),
Pondok SVD (Riung, Flores),
Menjangan Resort (Bali Barat),
Begawan Giri (Ubud, Bali),
Sheraton Timika (Papua Barat),
Echo Hotel (Lembah Harau, Bukittinggi, Sumatra Barat),
St Regis (Bali)
The Mansion (Ubud, Bali),
Java Cove (Pangandaran, Jawa Barat),
Ayana (Bali),
Kima Bajo (Manado, Sulawesi Utara),
Kampung Sampireun (Jawa Barat),
Lava View Lodge (Probolinggo),
Sabang Guesthouse (Sabang, Nangroe Aceh Darussalaam),
Hotel Santika Premiere, (Manado, Sulawesi Utara),
Four Seasons (Jimbaran, Bali),
Alila Icon, (Kemang, Jakarta), dan
Hotel Maya (Ubud, Bali). 

(By Ukirsari on September 7, 2009) 



Antasari, KPK, dan Belitan Cinta Segitiga


SALAH satu yang membuat orang selalu tegar dalam menghidupi masalah adalah dukungan keluarga. Mantan ketua KPK ini, selain mendapat dukungan keluarga juga dianggap sebagai sosok yang paling dibanggakan. Apalagi ada anggapan di kalangan masyarakat bahwa sosok Antasari identik dengan KPK, karena beliau sangat gencar dan tanpa takut memberantas korupsi.

Investigasi dalam buku ini akan menyingkap banyak sisi yang selama ini mungkin tak diketahui publik: Pembentukan dan kinerja KPK; Sepak terjang Antasari dan citra KPK di mata masyarakat; Seberapa kuat KPK tanpa Antasari; Konspirasi apa yang dirancang oleh para koruptor untuk menyingkirkan orang-orang yang hendak menghalangi aksi mereka; dan lain-lain. **

Judul Buku : Antasari, KPK, dan Belitan Cinta Segitiga

Penulis : Burhanuddin Abe & Faisyal

Kategori : Nonfiksi/Sosial, Politik dan Budaya/Politik

Ukuran : 14 x 21 cm

Tebal : 196 halaman

Penerbit : Gramedia Group

Terbit : Juli 2009

Harga : Rp 24.000,-

ISBN : 978-979-22-4814-2; IQ 41101090023

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Lebaran di Jakarta


SETIAP Idul Fitri saya (dan keluarga) selalu mudik. Tapi tahun 2009 ini absen, alias berlebaran di Jakarta saja. Bagaimana rasanya? Nyaman, karena jalanan tidak macet sama sekali, bahkan cenderung lengang. Tapi rasanya ada yang hilang, Lebaran di Ibukota tidak seseru di kampung halaman, saling berkunjung ke saudara-saudara, ketemu teman-teman lama. Ada sesuatu yang hilang….


Selamat Idul Fitri 1430 H. Minal Aidin Wal Faizin. Mohon Maaf Lahir dan Batin.

PS. Terima kasih kami haturkan untuk teman-teman yang sudah mengirim SMS “Lebaran”: Dewi Damayanti (Ritz Carlton Jakarta, Pacific Place), Sonia Wibisono, Kushindarto (wartajazz.com), Tiara Maharani (Venue Magazine), Jenny Suriahyani (Cognito), Meilinawati K. (Cognito), Robert (Cognito), Dewi Anggraini (Intercontinental Bali Resort), Ade Sarah (Mitra Adi Perkasa), Nita Tjindarbumi, Edhi Sumadi (Pernod Ricard), Santi Pudjo (AS), Stallone Tjia (sendokgarpu.com), Kris Wijayanto, Lestari Nurhayati, Ambar (KID), Siska Leonita (XL), Apul Maharaja (Batak Post), Wida (Lotus PR), Jeanny Wulur (Lippo Group), Indra Junor (Rolling Stones), Rian Sudiarto (SWA Network), Aming, Dijan Subromo, Prih Sarnianto, Liey Setiawan (Registry), Moammar Emka, Saiful Hadi, (PDAM Gresik), M. Nuzul (Hexindo Adiperkasa, Pekanbaru), Riant Nugroho, Budi Suwarna (Kompas), Agung Yuswanto, Retta Simson (Mulia Hotel Jakarta), Diana, M.Lutfi (PT Petrokimia Gresik), Zayanti Zaidir, Ronald Holoang (Versus Magazine), Bimo, Hani (Tempo), Okta (Chevron Indonesia), Elizaberth Fang (ME Magazine), Mucharor Djalil, Joko Sugiarsono (SWA Magazine), B Gunawan, Franz Wolfgang (Nokia Siemens Network), Prehanto Abdurrahman, Ratih Poeradisastra, Salmah, A. Nashir Budiman, Didiek WS, Andri (Little Black CafĂ©), Arief Soeharto (Koran Jakarta), Ilham, Ferry S. Badjeber, Ollie R. Sungkar (Vox Populi Syndicate), Iwan S. Jatmiko (Vox Populi Syndicate), Faisal Chaniago (Appetite Journey), Ade Irwan Trisnadi (Appetite Journey), Ety Suryani (Appeite Journey), Hadi (Appetite Journey), Revi (Appetite Journey), Tri Parjoko (Appetite Journey), Edoy Sunarto (Appetite Journey), Argo (Appetite Journey), Niki (Nikko Hotel), Mala (KID), Azza (KID), Audi (The Jakarta Post), Fithri (The Jakarta Post), Mia Rubiyanti (The Jakarta Post), Yayuk Sardjono (Julambi), Tresnawati (Suara Merdeka), Rene Suhardono (True), Irwan (Gatra), Dadang Tri, Joko (EE Communications), Rahmaji Asmuri (Asuransi Takaful), Wisnu (SWA), Hendra (SWA), Taufik Hidayat (SWA), Tutut (SWA), Harmanto Edy Djatmiko (SWA), Evi Puspa (Online Marketing Indonesia), Evi Erawati (perempuan.com), Echy (IM3), Budiman Tanuredja (Kompas), Budiman, Ita Sembiring, Shafril Pane, Danang (Grand Tropic), Honorus Hendriyarno (Pertamina, Bontang), Wisnu (ME), Yulius (ME), Andrizah Hamza (ME), Dila (Grand Kawanua), Ika Sastrosoebroto (Prominent), Tipuk Satiotomo (Prominent), Sintya Dyta (titik), Gatot S. Dewa Broto (Kahumas Deparpostel), Imam Wahyoe, Alda Siregar, Nasyth Madjidi (Parents Guide), Danang Kemayan Jati (Lippo Group), Jatiningsih, Aswadi Munir, Tety S. Chairul (Popular), Faisal (Popular), Ferdinand Pey, Ludi Hasibuan, Tedjo Iskandar, Tatik Hafidz, Jon Minofri, Nandoz Purba, Dadi R. Sumaatmaja (Metro TV), Ermina (BRI), Bayu (Tamasya), Riyadh, Victor Tanusiwa, Andi, Kevin, Gigin Praginanto, Elprisdat, Erina Elprisdat, Rahmat Yunanto (Metro TV), Suprobo, Benny (Infobank), Lira (The Dharmawangsa), Eman, Evieta (U Magazine), Harsya Soebandrio, Eddy (Sheraton, Bandung), Tito (Eksekutif), Ari Prastowati, Nanang Junaidi, Syamhudi (Profesi), Rizka, Ferdy Hasan, Henni (SWA), Sabpri Piliang (Suara Karya), Dwi S. (Esquire), Indra Bustomi, Lulu Pasha (Soliter), Mardi Luhung, Mita, Babas Basoeki, Nazir Amin, Hersubeno Arief, Herry Drajat (Venue), Suharjanto, Endang Wahidin, Ditri K, Dicky, Shinta (Discovery Kartika Plaza, Bali), Aries Kelana (Gatra), Lilies Sri Lestari, Martha, Heri Warsito, Dodi, Intan Pulungan (Int Comps), Ajeng Campagnita (EE Communications), Dody Rochadi (Maverick), Danu Kuntoaji (Studio Tiga), Irfan, Lily G. Nababan, Kemal E. Gani (SWA), Sulistyo, Lanny Rahadi (Martha Tilaar Group), V. Elisawati, Sastro Gozali (sendokgarpu.com), Arif Tritura (Total), Teges P. Soraya (Grand Indonesia), Kusnan Djawahir, Maya (Cognito), Dede Marlia, Dede Suryadi (SWA), Devita (detik.com), Dharmesti Sindhunata (Cushman & Wakefield Indonesia), Sugeng (Laguna, Bali), Diana (Mandarin Hotel), Dino Musida, Doddi (ARTi), Freedian Marpaung, Wawan (MIX), Hartono, Hartono Iggi Putra, SS Budi Rahardjo, Musthafa Helmy, Marah Sakti Siregar, Farid Mahmud, Icha (T&T), Anchali (Now Jakarta), Sisca (Vin+), Sujianto, Suryansyah (Metro TV), Taufan (Design Plus, Cikarang), Tjandra Wibowo (Samuan), Dina (Samuan), Amazon Dalimunte, Siti Nurbaiti, Anif Puntodewo (Republika), Risma Sidabutar, Atik (HI ‘82), Cepi S. Husada (Ford), Untung Hartono (Inmark Communications), Yusuf Ahmad, Ayu Hermawan (Dateline Communications), Yogasworo (Deadline Design), Wagiman (CSIS), Antyo Rentjoko (dagdigdug.com), Moeryanti, Dony, Dian (Indonesia Travel Tourism Fair), Ketut Sumarta, Chairul Fanani, Daneshwari, Avianto, Bakarudin, Raymon Yunanta, Swastika Nohara, Ferry Salim, Michael Zhang, Benny Amilie, Bintoro, Ajub Gautama, Nungki Sutrisno (Neo), Martha Lorry (The Plaza Hotel), Ramayanti (bw Communications), Sonny Octarina (Central Park, Agung Podomoro), Wahyuana, Nugroho Setiatmadji, Candra Muaz, dan lain-lain yang tidak bisa saya sebutkan satu per satu. Thanks anyway, karena SMS dari Anda semua, cukup menghibur hati yang ‘kosong’! I love u full!

Saturday, September 19, 2009

A Home Away From Home


KALIMAT puitis tersebut sangat lekat dengan dunia traveling. Ke mana pun para traveler menginap, harapan mereka adalah ketemu hotel atau penginapan yang senyaman di rumah sendiri, a home away from home! Itu sebabnya hotel yang baik adalah yang mampu membuat para tamunya kerasan, yang entah itu diwujudkan, mulai dari fasilitas yang memadai, lokasi yang strategis, sampai hal-hal yang non teknis, pelayanan yang baik atau pun keramahan petugasnya. 

Memang, hampir dipastikan tidak ada hotel yang seperti di rumah sendiri. Lagi pula, apa menariknya traveling kalau harus menginap di rumah sendiri, tentunya lebih seru kalau berbeda dengan suasana rumah, ada pengalaman baru. Nyaman seperti di rumah memang sebuah ungkapan, yang berkonotasi nyaman dan membuat sang tamu kerasan. Membuat tamu betah memang bukan monopoli hotel berbintang lima saja yang memang fully facility, tapi hotel-hotel kecil pun, mempunyai peluang untuk menjadi hotel idaman yang membuat penghuninya kerasan, feel like at home, selalu ingin kembali dan kembali lagi. 

Sayangnya, dalam sebuah sarasehan yang diselenggarakan National Geographic Traveler beberapa waktu yang lalu, di mana saya termasuk di dalamnya, terungkap bahwa tidak banyak hotel-hotel di Indonesia yang mempunyai syarat-syarat yang disebut di atas. Bahkan hotel-hotel mewah pun kadang-kadang tidak mempunyai personality sebagai hotel Indonesia.

Memang, banyak hotel yang mematut diri dengan mengambil tema lokal yang kuat, misalnya, dengan mengadaptasi arsitektur dan interior setempat, tapi tetap saja breakfast-nya ala Continental yang standar. “Tidak ada yang berani menyajikan menu tradisional. Kalau pun ada, di hari ketiga para tamu sudah mulai bosan, menunya itu-itu saja,” ujar William Wongso, pakar kuliner yang hadir dalam sarasehan itu.

William maklum, para investor di bisnis hotel di Indonesia umumnya tidak mempunyai passion yang mendalam terhadap industri perhotelan, apalagi F&B. Sehingga yang ada di benak mereka adalah investasi, serta perhitungan untung-ruginya belaka.

Jay Subyakto, peserta yang lain, bahkan menyayangkan, ada hotel-hotel tertentu yang meski arsitekturnya indah, tapi sering tidak mengindahkan alam sekitarnya. Tidak ada kepedulian dari pihak pengelola untuk memberdayakan sumber daya manusia di kawasan sekitarnya, serta mengajak para tamunya agar peduli terhadap isu lingkungan, meski dalam hal sekecil sekali pun. “Jadi, sebetulnya saya heran di event internasional beberapa waktu yang lalu, ada yang bangga bisa memecahkan rekor dunia: bisa rame-rame menyelam di laut dalam dengan anggota penyelam terbanyak. Padahal, ini kan sedikit banyak bisa merusak terumbu karang,” tukasnya.

Memang, hotel atau resor yang baik haruslah mendukung sustainable tourism, mengedepankan nilai-nilai yang selaras dengan wisata ramah lingkungan. Demikianlah dengan para tamu yang seyogyanya peduli dengan lingkungan, yang tidak sekadar membuang sampah pada tempatnya, tapi juga tidak mencoba makanan dari satwa langka atau tidak membeli cendera mata ilegal, misalnya. 

Memang, berbicara tentang hotel di Indonesia tidak melulu cerita sedih. Hotel-hotel yang sederhana pun kadang-kadang meninggalkan kesan yang mendalam, bukan hanya karena tarifnya relatif murah tapi kuliner yang disajikannya pun otentik. Pisang goreng, nasi timbel, dan sambel cobek, misalnya, masih bisa dijumpai Desa Wisata Bumihayu, Subang. Begitulah pengalaman Siti Kholifah, produser acara Koper & Ransel di salah satu stasiun televisi itu. 

Sementara William menemui sebuah hotel di Tomohon, Sulawesi Utara, namanya Gardenia, memiliki sajian kuliner yang mengesankan. Saya sendiri juga pernah merasakan makanan lokal di sebuah hotel mewah di Karangasem Bali, Alila Manggis. Selain makanan western, di situ juga tersedia pula makanan ala Bali yang asli, yakni mengibung – nasi dengan lauk rupa-rupa, yang dalam tradisi aslinya dimakan rame-rame. Kalau bosan makan di hotel, pihak hotel pun bersedia mengantar tamu ke warung-warung sekitar yang direkomendasi, untuk sekadar menyantap makanan setempat yang orisinal dan tentu saja nikmat. 

Banyak yang harus diperhatikan kalau ingin industri perhotelan Indonesia maju. Akomodasi komersial, yang diwadahi dalam bentuk hotel atau resor tersebut, tidak hanya mampu menjawab kebutuhan standar para traveler (wisata dan bisnis), tapi juga harus mempunyai sesuatu yang unik yang membedakan dengan hotel atau resor (negara) lain, yang mengagungkan alam dan tradisi. Sesuatu yang berbeda (diferensiasi) itulah yang harus terus dicari dan dicari, kalau kita memang ingin mengejar ketertinggalan kita dari negara-negara lain. (Burhanuddin Abe)

French Paradox


WINE mulai menjadi bagian dari gaya hidup kota-kota besar, tak terkecuali Jakarta. Tidak susah mendapatkan wine di Ibukota, tidak hanya di wine cellar di hotel-hotel berbintang, tapi juga wine lounge yang tersebar di berbagai tempat.

Konsumen wine pada dasarnya terbagi menjadi tiga kategori. Pertama, mereka yang minum wine memang budayanya. Kedua, mereka yang menikmati wine karena ingin merasakan sensasinya, juga sebagai social drink dalam komunitasnya. Dan ketiga, mereka yang memandang wine sebagai “obat”. 

Yup, banyak yang meyakini, segalas wine, tepatnya red wine sehari membuat hidup menjadi sehat. Kandungan flavonoid dalam anggur merah sudah dibuktikan oleh orang Perancis dapat menurunkan kadar kolesterol jahat dan mendongkrak kalesterol baik, sehingga melindungi kesehatan jantung.

Banyak riset ilmiah yang menunjukkan korelasi antara penurunan angka kematian akibat penyakit jantung dengan konsumsi wine. Dalam Wine, Alcohol, Platelets and the French Paradox for Coronary Heart Desease (1992), dua orang peneliti Perancis yang berbasis di Lyon, Serge Renaud dan Michel de Lorgeril, melaporkan bahwa masyarakat di Perancis Selatan dan Mediterania, yang sehari-hari mengonsumsi lemak dalam porsi tinggi dan merokok, serta berolah raga secikupnya, justru memiliki angka kematian yang disebabkan oleh penyakit jantung rendah. Mereka menyimpulkan, semua itu dikarenakan tingginya konsumsi masyarakat Perancis akan wine. Inilah yang disebut sebagai "French Paradox". 

Dari situlah muncul kesadaran baru bahwa wine yang memabukkan kalau mengonsumsinya tidak berlebihan, ternyata juga menyehatkan. Para ahli dan ilmuwan AS pun dari penelitiannya menyimpulkan: wine menurunkan risiko penyakit jantung koroner sehingga memungkinkan berusia lebih panjang. "Orang yang minum wine satu-tiga gelas per hari memiliki 40-50% peluang untuk terhindar dari penyakit pembuluh koroner daripada mereka yang sama sekali tidak minum," demikian publikasi American College of Cardiology tahun 1996.

Begitulah, minuman beralkohol yang dibuat dari sari anggur jenis Vitis vinifera ini ternyata bukan minuman biasa. Wine dibuat melalui fermentasi gula yang ada di dalam buah anggur, yang biasanya tumbuh di area 30 hingga 50 derajat lintang utara dan selatan. Ada beberapa jenis wine, yakni red wine, white wine, rose wine, sparkling wine, sweet wine, dan fortified wine. 

Tapi yang diyakni mengandung obat adalah red wine yang dibuat dari anggur merah (red grapes). Beberapa jenis anggur merah yang terkenal di kalangan peminum wine di Indonesia adalah merlot, cabernet sauvignon, syrah/shiraz, dan pinot noir.

Tentu ini berita baik bagi penggemar wine. Bahkan dalam penelitian terbaru pun ditemukan pula bahwa mengomsumsi secara moderat red wine akan menurunkan risiko paru-paru pada pria. Demikian hasil yang diperoleh Chun Chao dari Department of Research and Evaluation, Kaiser Permanente Southern California.

Dalam penelitian tersebut, para responden (sebanyak 84.170 orang) diminta untuk mengonsumsi segelas red wine per hari selama sebulan. Hasilnya, risiko mereka terkena kanker paru-paru berkurang 2%, dengan yang paling besar adalah pria perokok yang mengonsumi 1 - 2 gelas red wine per harinya, risiko penurunannya mencapai 60%.

Penelitian tersebut cukup, tapi Chun Chao memberikan peringatan merokok sambil minum red wine bukanlah gaya hidup yang sehat. Apalagi, tidak sedikit laporan penelitian yang menunjukkan bahwa setiap alkohol, termasuk red wine, dapat meningkatkan risiko kanker lain, seperti kanker payudara. Nah, lo! Ini juga paradoks yang lain. So, minumlah wine dengan cerdas dan bijak. (Burhanuddin Abe)

Friday, September 18, 2009

Exploring Bali


THE most famous of Indonesia’s 17,000 plus islands, Bali lies between Java to the West and Lombok to the East at the coordinates of 8°25′23″S, 115°14′55″E. It is one of the country's 33 provinces with the provincial capital at Denpasa towards the South of the island. Predominantly Hindu anrd the country’s most popular tourist destination, Bali is rightly renowned for its arts, including dance, sculpture, painting, leather, metalworking and music.

Tropical describes Bali’s equatorial climate in just one word. In the lowlands, temperatures average between 21 to 33 degree Celcius. In the mountains, temperatures may dip as low as 5 degree Celcius. Humidity in Bali varies but is always present, between 60 % to 100 %. In general, Indonesia experiences two yearly seasons of monsoon winds: the southeast monsoon, bringing dry days from from May to October, and the northwest monsoon, bringing rain normally between November to April with a peak around January/February when it may rain for several hours each day. Rain on Bali follows a fairly predictable pattern. Before it rains, the air gets very sticky; afterwards it is refreshingly cool and the sun usually appears. The changing seasons can bring high waves which attracts legions of surfers to the isle. The dry season, May to October, is a better time to visit Bali, and especially June to August. This is the time to climb mountains or visit nature reserves; when wild bulls go in search of water and sea turtles lay eggs.

Bali lies 3.2 km East of Java and approximately 8 degrees South of the equator. East to West, the island is approximately 153 km wide and 112 km North to South (95 by 69 miles, respectively), with a surface area of 5,633 km2. The highest point is Mount Agung at 3,142 m (10,308 feet) high, an active volcano that last erupted in March 1963. Mountains cover the center to the Eastern side, with Mount Agung the Easternmost peak. Mount Batur (1,717 m) is also still active. About 30,000 years ago it experienced a catastrophic eruption — one of the largest known volcanic events onEarth. The principal cities are the Northern port of Singaraja, the former colonial capital of Bali, and the present provincial capital and largest city, Denpasar, near the Southern coast. The town of Ubud (North of Denpasar), with its art market, museums and galleries, serves as the cultural center of Bali.

There are major coastal roads and roads that cross the island mainly North-South. Due to the mountainous terrain in the island's center, the roads tend to follow the crests of the ridges across the mountains. There are no railway lines.

The island is surrounded by coral reefs. Beaches in the South tend to have white sand while those in the North and West, black volcanic sand. One anomaly, Padangbai in the Southeast boasts both: the main beach and a secret beach have white sand while the town’s southern beach and the blue lagoon have much darker sand. The population of Bali is 3,156,392 (at 2008).

Bali History


HISTORIANS believe that descendants of a prehistoric race who migrated through mainland Asia to the Indonesian Archipelago first settled in Bali around3000 BC. Stone axes and adzes discovered in Sembiran, a village in Northern Bali date to the Ice Age. Further discoveries of more sophisticated stone tools, agricultural techniques and basic pottery at place people living in Cekik (far West Bali) during the Neolithic era.


Other artifacts unearthed in Cekik, indicate a settlement together with burial sites of around a hundred people from the Neolithic to the Bronze Age. The massive drums of the Bronze Age, including the most famous and largest drum in Southeast Asia, the Pura Penataran Sasih (Moon of Pejeng), nearly two meters wide, are now housed in Penataran Sasih Temple in East Ubud. Carved stone sarcophagi from the same period found on Bali and in East Java can viewed at the Museum Bali in Denpasar and Museum Purbakala in Pejeng.


The end of the prehistoric period in Indonesia can be traced to the arrival of Hindu people from India around 100 BC as determined by Brahmi inscriptions on postherds. Prasasti, or metal inscriptions, Bali's earliest written records from the 9th century AD, show a significant Buddhist and Hindu influence; especially in the statues, bronzes and rock-cut caves around Gunung Kawi (Old Monument) and Goa Gajah (Elephant Cave).


The name Balidwipa appears in various inscriptions, including the Blanjong charter issued by Sri Kesari Warmadewa in 913 AD. It was during this time that the complex irrigation system Subak developed to grow rice. Many of Bali’s religious and cultural traditions still in existence today date to this period.


Proof that Balinese society was already quite sophisticated by this period can be found on a stone carving in the Pura Korah Tegipan near Batur of the marriage portrait of Balinese King Udayana to East Java's Princess Mahendratta. Their son, Erlangga, born around 991 AD, later succeeded to the throne of the Javanese kingdom, bringing Java and Bali together until his death in 1049.


The Hindu Majapahit Empire (1293 - 1520 AD) on Eastern Java established a Balinese colony in 1343. The eventual decline of that empire in the 15th century led to an exodus of intellectuals, artists, priests and musicians from Java to Bali.


Though a Portuguese ship foundered off Bali’s Bukit Peninsula in 1585, the first confirmed European on Bali, Dutch explorer Cornelis de Houtman, came ashore in1597. Dutch rule over Bali came much later though they never to achieved the control they had in other parts of Indonesia such as Java and Maluku. In the 1840s, The Dutch established a presence in the island's North, where they played off various distrustful Balinese realms against each other. The Dutch mounted large naval and ground assaults first against the Sanur region and then Denpasar.


Hopelessly overwhelmed in number and armament, but not wanting to face the humiliation of surrender, the Balinese mounted one final defense, the suicidal assault known as puputan. Despite Dutch pleas for surrender, an estimated 4,000 Balinese marched to their death against the invaders. Afterwards the Dutch governors exercised little influence over the island, generally allowing local control over religion and culture to remain intact.


Japan occupied Bali during World War II. Following Japan's Pacific surrender in August 1945, the Dutch promptly returned to Indonesia, including Bali, immediately reinstating their pre-war colonial administration. Though Balinese rebels resisted, using Japanese weapons, by 1946, the Dutch constituted Bali as one of the 13 administrative districts of the newly-proclaimed Republic of East Indonesia, a rival state to the Republic of Indonesia proclaimed by Sukarno and Mohammad Hatta. When the Netherlands eventually recongnized Indonesian independence on December 29 1949, Bali was included in the ‘’Republic of the United States of Indonesia.’’ In 1956 Bali officially renounced the Dutch union and legally became a province within the Republic of Indonesia.


The 1963 eruption of Bali’s Mount Agung Volcano killed thousands and created economic havoc. Countless Balinese fled permanently to other parts of Indonesia. More tragedy befell the Balinese in 1965, after a failed coup d'etat in Jakarta when killings of often falsely-accused members and sympathizers of the Partai Komunis Indonesia (Communist Party of Indonesia) by right-wing General Soeharto-sponsored militias took place on Bali and across Indonesia. Estimates put the Balinese death toll at more than 100,000. Many unmarked but well known mass graves of victims are located around the island.

Balinese Arts




BALINESE art, including painting, sculpture, woodcarving, and performing arts than deserves its global reputation. The gamelan produces highly developed and varied indigenous music. Popular Balinese dances include pendet, legong, baris, topeng tua, barong and kecak. Perhaps the most famous of Bali’s performance arts, wayang or shadow play theatre draws audiences of all ages to the dramatic, fiery display.

Gamelan
A musical ensemble of Indonesia origin, the gamelan typically features a variety of instruments such as metallophones, xylophones, drums, and gongs; bamboo flutes, bowed and plucked strings. Vocalists may be included as well. The word "gamelan" comes from the Javanese word "gamel", meaning to strike or hammer, and the Malay-Indonesian suffix "-an" makes the root a collective noun. The musical term refers more to the set of instruments than the players of those instruments. A gamelan as a set of instruments is a distinct entity, built and tuned to stay together — instruments from different gamelan are not interchangeable.

In Indonesia, gamelan usually accompanies other arts, such as dance, wayang, puppet performances, and rituals. Musicians in the gamelan often know the dance moves and poetry too, while dancers can play in the musical ensemble.

In wayang, the dalang (puppeteer) must have a thorough knowledge of the music, as he gives the cues to the gamelan. A gamelan does not typically perform concerts in the Western sense, although it can be used as background music, as for a wedding.

Pendet
Dancers perform the traditional Balinese pendet, as an offering made to purify the temple or theater, often as a prelude to ceremonies or other dances. Young girls typically perform this dance, carrying bowls of flower petals cast into the air at various intervals. Balinese consider Pendet as a dance of greeting, to welcome the audience and invite spirits to enjoy a performance.

Legong
Highly dynamic, legong epitomizes classical female Balinese dancing. The court dance, originated in the 18th century in the principality of Sukawati. Beginners require months of training to master the perfect mix of posture (tangkep), movements (agem-with dancing hands), and mimicry. Three dancers in glittering costumes usually perform legong, one “condong” lady-in-waiting and two princesses whose role may change according to the narrative. In ancient times, a storyteller accompanied legong but now the dance conveys the story on its own.

Baris
A solo male dance filled with strutting and posturing, baris literally translates as ‘warrior formation’. The dancer imitates the actions of an ancient Balinese warrior. The dancer wears a symbolic wave shaped dagger, a keris, across his back. During this dance the drummer, also the leader of the gong, watches the dancer’s each move and responds musically, keeping the performance extremely dynamic throughout.

Topeng Tua
Topeng Tua performances tell the stories of Balinese and Javanese ancestors. These stories of princes and clowns follow a set of solo mask dances, often considered the best of Balinese male dances: topeng keras or dance of the strong warrior, topeng tua, a fantastic dance showing the advance of old age in the king’s old counselor and the topeng dalem or king in all his poise and balance with an array of clowns worth those of the Comedia del Arte.

Barong and Rangda
Barong is the magical protector of Balinese villages. As “lord of the forest” with long mane and fantastic fanged mask, he defends the Balinese against Rangda the witch, who rules over the spirits of darkness. During Galungan Kuningan festivals, the Barong – of which there are many types: barong ket, barong macan, barong bangkal – wanders from door to door to cleanse the territory of evil influences.

Kecak
Kecak dance developed during the 1930's in Bona village. The Westerners sometimes call this The Monkey Dance for the performers’ movements that resemble those of a monkey. This spectacular dance is usually performed at night, surrounding a bonfire. One hundred or more bare-chested men surround the bonfire with priest in the middle. The only music to accompany them is the beats of their palms hitting their chests, their thighs, or other parts of their bodies, or their clapping rhythmically, accompanied by shouts and chants. The dancers move in unison, creating a spectacular, organically choreographed performance as hands stretch out, pull in, or rest on the shoulder of the next person while waists gyrate left and right.

Wayang
Most visitors to Bali will watch an abbreviated version of wayang as the real performance normally goes on for as long as 8 hours. Perhaps the most famous show of Balinese theatre, wayang also presents the most challenges for its audience as it introduces Bali’s uniquely complex world of myths, symbols and religious beliefs. The puppeteer or dalang, tells the story by projecting on a white screen the shadows of the puppets he manipulates in front of a big oil lamp. In this ultimate one-man-show, the dalang plays several characters at once by adopting different voices, shifting from Old-Javanese to High-and Low-Balinese speech, singing and hitting his puppet box to mark the rhythm. He must act learned, funny and sad in seamless repetition.

The framework of the dalang’s narrative typically derives from the great epics of the Indo-Javanese tradition, the Mahabharata and the Ramayana, although other stories may also be used. He then creates his own episodes, usually around a hero’s quest for a magical weapon, a godly secret or a mate. The hero, accompanied by buffoons, eventually succeeds after long adventures in the wilderness and fighting against evil giants. The two sets of puppets, those of the right for the heroes, and those of the left for the villains, symbolise the eternal fight of good and evil. Equally important to the audience, is the dalang’s ability to poke fun at everyone through the mouth of the buffoons.

Balinese People and Religion


THE Balinese population of 3.0 million (1.5% of Indonesia's population) live mostly on the island of Bali, making up 89% of the island's population. There are also significant Balinese populations on the neighboring island of Lombok, and in the Eastern-most regions of Java.

The vast majority, 92% of the Balinese follow a Shivaite sect of Hinduism from South Asia that mixes pre-Hindu mythologies and Animism, with Buddhism from Southeast Asia. Among the Balinese,minority religions include Islam (5.7%, Christianity (1,4%), and Buddhism (0.6%). These official statistical figures do not include immigrants from other parts of Indonesia.

Muslims and Christians from Java, Lombok and other islands of Indonesia, Indonesian and Malaysian Chinese, as well as an expatriate population from Australia, Europe and America, among others have also settled on Bali. Finally, a small community of Balinese who trace their roots to before the third wave of immigration, and are known as the Bali Aga, mostly do not follow the Balinese Shivaite Hinduism, but their own animist traditions. However, because the Indonesian government recognizes Hinduism as one of the country's five officially sanctioned, monotheistic religions, followers of various tribal and animistic religions have identified themselves as Hindu in order to avoid harassment or pressure to convert to Islam or Christianity.

Ritual purity is one of Hinduism's primary ethical concerns. Another distinguishing feature, which traditionally helps maintain ritual purity, is the division of society into the traditional occupational groups, or varna (literally, color) of Hinduism:Brahmins (priests, Brahmana in Indonesian), Kshatriya (ruler-warriors, Satriya in Indonesian), Vaishya (merchants-farmers, Waisya in Indonesian), andShudra (commoners-servants, Sudra in Indonesian). As with Islam and Buddhism, Balinese society greatly modified Hinduism to the needs and realities of their culture, for example never rigidly applying the caste system though it was present in form.

Even today, Balinese Hinduism remains deeply interwoven with art and ritual, though it is distinctly less closely preoccupied with scripture, law, and belief than Islam in Indonesia. Balinese Hinduism lacks the traditional Hindu emphasis on cycles of rebirth and reincarnation, but instead concentrates on a myriad of local and ancestral spirits.

Balinese believe these spirits have the capability to cause harm. Thus they place great emphasis on dramatically and aesthetically satisfying these spirits through ritual acts performed at temples scattered throughout villages and in the countryside. Every Balinese belongs to a temple by virtue of descent, residence, or some mystical revelation of affiliation. Some temples are associated with the family house compound; others are associated with rice fields, and still others with key geographic sites.

A notable feature of religious expression among the Balinese people, ritualized states of self-control lies behind their reputation for graceful and decorous behavior. Rituals of the life cycle are also important occasions for religious expression and artistic display. Ceremonies at puberty, marriage, and, most notably, cremation at death provide opportunities for Balinese to communicate their ideas about community, status, and the afterlife.

Balinese religion is hierarchically organized, with one small segment of the aristocracy known as the Brahmin, or priestly, class occupying the most prestigious spot at the top of the hierarchy. Not affiliated with any temple, a Brahmin priest acts as a spiritual leader and adviser to individual families in various villages scattered over the island.

Ceremonies in Bali


Galungan

It occurs every 210 days and lasts for 10 days. Galungan means "when the Dharma is winning." During this period, Balinese believe the deified ancestors of the family descend to their former homes. They must be suitably entertained and welcomed, with prayers and offerings made for them. Those who have ancestors buried in the village cemetery, must make offerings at the graves.

Although Galungan falls on a Wednesday, most Balinese will begin their 'holiday' the day before, so that the deified ancestors may see them busily preparing offerings and cooking for the next day.

A long bamboo pole, or penjor, decorates the entrance to the family compound during this holiday. By late Tuesday afternoon, these decorative poles create a festive atmosphere on the streets throughout.

While the women spend days creating elaborately woven banten (offerings made from young coconut fronds), the men usually wake up well before dawn on Wednesday to join with their neighbours to slaughter a pig unlucky enough to be chosen to help celebrate this occasion.

Finely diced pork is mashed to a pulp with a grinding stone, then molded onto sate sticks prepared by whittling small bamboo stalks. Chickens may also be chosen among those chickens that roam around the house compound. Delicate combinations of various vegetables, herbs and spices are also prepared by the men to make up a selection of lawar dishes. By mid-morning, once all the cooking is done, time comes for the first of a series of satisfying feasts.

Most Balinese try to return to their own ancestral home even if they work in another part of the island. As well as the family temple, visits are made to the village temple with offerings as well, and to the homes of other families who may have helped in some way over the past six months. Balinese most often spend the following day relaxing, visiting friends, or heading to the mountains for a picnic to continue the festive spirit of Galungan without the formal festivities.

Nyepi

The Balinese "Day of Silence" falls on Bali's Lunar New Year, in late March or early April. On New Year’s Eve families parade with a giant monster doll known as Ogoh-Ogoh to the village temple where they symbolically burn it to exorcise evil spirits for the year to come. Next the island itself must be purified, an excuse for everyone to run amok through the villages all night, smashing effigies and clanging the kulkul, a traditional bamboo bell. The next day, Bali is completely silent (no electricity, working, traveling or eating) to ‘trick’ the malicious spirits into believing the Hindu isle is now uninhabited so they will leave for another year.


Pagerwesi


Balinese people in the Northern part of the island celebrate the first four days of the new Pawukon cycle as special religious days called Pagerwesi. The word itself comes from two Javanese words, pager (fence) and wesi (iron). According to their belief, one should surround oneself with a strong fortification against the forces of evil.


Pagerwesi celebrates an ancient battle between good and evil is celebrated. Locals will put up penjors, and make special offerings for the uncremated dead bodies in the cemeteries. The offerings are usually placed at every house compound and temples.


Before Pagerwesi, celebrants will perform a series of temple rituals known as Soma Ribek. Following the celebration, Balinese Hindus will continue to celebrate Sabuh Emas Day with colorful offerings made and dedicated to the Lord of Jewelries, especially gold jewelries and Chinese coins.


Ngaben (Cremation Ceremony)


The ritual performed to send the dead through the transition to the next life begins when the village Kul Kul, a bell hanging in the tower of the village temple, sounds a certain beat to announce the departure of the deceased. No tears are shed, for he is only gone temporarily and he will reincarnate into the family.


The Priest consults the Dewa to determine the proper day for the ceremony. On the day of the ceremony, the body is placed inside a coffin then inserted into a sarcophagus in the form of a buffalo (called Lembu) or a temple structure called Wadah made of paper and light wood. Next everyone takes part in the procession to the village cremation site carrying the Lembu or Wadah.

With fire originating from a holy source, the priest commences the burning of the entombed body so that the deceased may move to his afterlife and next reincarnation

Mesangih/Mepandes (Tooth-filing Ceremony)

In the Balinese belief system, Mepandes helps people rid themselves of the invisible forces of evil. Teeth symbolize the evils of lust, greed, anger, insobriety, confusion and jealousy. Filing the teeth therefore renders someone more spiritually beautiful, as well as announcing the rite of passage for an adolescent into adulthood.

Whenever possible, a member of the highest caste, the Brahman (priest) will file which is said to feel fairly painless. These Sangging use simple tools to conduct their work - a file, a small hammer, and a carver - purified with holy water prior to the ceremony by a lay priest. Items provided by the family include a mirror, a piece of sugar cane, and some young coconut. The person having their teeth filed must remain in isolation indoors for the whole day prior to the ceremony as protection since they are still considered "immature', prior to the ceremony, they are particularly vulnerable to evil spirits.

During the joyous ceremony held between 04.00 am to 06.00 am, before the sun rises, two gender wayang instruments play their calming sound and soothing scale. People who have their teeth filed wear highly ornamental garb with the women donning gold-gilded headdresses.

Artifacts found in the Buleleng regency have resealed that the Balinese have been holding the tooth filing ceremony for over 2000 years, hence it was not originally a Hindu ceremony.


Balinese Names


BALINESE believe that naming a child can affect a child’s life. On the baby’s 12th day, the extended hold a special name-giving ceremony called ngerorasin (originating from the word ‘roras’ meaning ‘twelve’ in Balinese). They consider several factors, including the child’s sex, caste, clan, birth order and the parents’ choice. The most common birth order naming system is the 'Wayan - Made - Nyoman - Ketut' cycle. If the family has more than four children, then the cycle begins again, with a different personal name.
There are, however, other names to indicate order of birth. The first born could be called Putu or Gede, the second Nengah or Kadek, and the third Komang or Koming. Also, a name is given according to a person's caste.
In the Hindu-Bali system there are four castes:
  1. 1. Brahmana - priestly caste. Names are prefixed by 'Ida Bagus' for males and 'Ida Ayu' for females.
  2. 2. Ksatria – warrior, noble, king or ruling caste. Names are prefixed by 'Tjokorda' for males or 'Tjokorda Istri' for females. Also, 'Anak Agung' indicates a person is of this caste.
  3. 3. Wesia – blacksmith, farmer, or tradesperson caste. Names are prefixed by 'Gusti', or by 'Dewa' (male) or 'Desak' (female).
  4. 4. Sudra – servant, or labour caste - about 95% of all Balinese. As well as using the birth order name indicated above, the name is prefixed with 'I' for males or 'Ni' for females.


Thursday, September 17, 2009

Jazz for West Java


GEMPA berkekuatan 7.3 skala Richter di Jawa Barat beberapa waktu yang lalu yang memprorakpandakan wilayah tersebut, menggugah para musisi jazz Indonesia untuk berbuat sesuatu. Jazz for West Java adalah wujud dari nyata kepedulian mereka, sambil ngejazz ikut membantu penggalangan dana, mengumpulkan donasi guna membantu para korban gempa.

Konser yang berlangsung di Graha Bakti Budaya, TIM, Jakarta, Minggu (13/09/09) itu adalah hasil kerjasama Dewan Kesenian Jakarta, Simpay Wargi Urang, WartaJazz.com, Palang Merah Indonesia, dan Farabi Music. “Insya Allah seperti halnya kepedulian kita pada korban Tsunami Aceh dan Gempa Yogyakarta, kali ini kita menggelar konser amal untuk para korban gempa Jawa Barat,” ujar Dwiki Dharmawan, salah seorang pengagas acara.

Para musisi jazz Indonesia yang tampil malam itu adalah Benny Likumahuwa, Utha Likumahuwa, Jilly Likumahuwa, Barry Likumahuwa Project, Krakatau, B3, Rio Febrian, Didik SSS, Fariz RM, Maya Hasan, Tompi, Idang Rasjidi, Andien, Budjana, Tohpati, World Peace Orchestra, Agam Hamzah, Adi Darmawan, Kulkul, Donny Suhendra, Riza Arshad, Bintang Indrianto, Yance Manusama, Tere, ES.QI.EF, Gerry Herb, Audiensi Band, Otti Jamalus Quartet, Clorophyl D’next Generation, Yeppi Romero, Oppie Andaresta, Gerald Trio, Notturno, Rio Moreno, dan banyak lagi.
Penyair Taufik Ismail ikut ambil bagian dengan membacakan karya puisinya.

Meski terkesan dadakan tapi bukan berarti acara yang dipandu Farhan itu asal-asalan. Konser lintas generasi itu justru sangat powerful, karena menggali kemampuan personal dengan style masing-masing yang unik. Ada jazz standar, latin jazz, swing, fusion, hingga pop jazzy masa kini. Krakatau yang dipimpin Dwiki Dharmawan mengeksplorasi kekuatan musik etnis, bahkan menampilkan penari topeng cirebon untuk memperkuat etnisitas tersebut. Sementara Fariz RM dan Utha Likumahuwa membawakan hits mereka di eranya, membuat suasana nostalgik. Tompi & Friends patut mendapat acungan jempol. Dalam musikalitas jazz yang kental, ia berhasil memadukan dengan sound musik tradisional Aceh yang relegius, pas dalam suasana Ramadhan.

Dalam acara tersebut juga dilelang organ milik Dwiki yang sudah dipakai sepanjang kariernya selama dua dekade lebih, lukisan Sam Bimbo, dan sepatu plus pernak-pernik milik Tere. Juga suara Adang Darajatun, sesepuh “urang Sunda”, yang malam itu membawakan lagu Sunda – diiringi Dwiki dalam irama bossas. Tak kurang Rp 250 juta dana yang terkumpul malam itu, yang semuanya diperuntukkan bagi korban gempa. (Abe)

Thursday, September 03, 2009

Arabian Night Foodfest


SUMMARECON selalu menghidupkan mal-malnya dengan berbagai kegiatan dan event. Ramadhan lalu, misalnya, La Piazza menggelar Arabian Night Foodfest yang berlangsung mulai 28 Agustus hingga 13 September 2009.

Tidakkruang dari 30 pedagang dan 7 restoran yang turut serta dalam event ini. Bazar yang rencananya digelar setiap tahun ini menampilan keanekaragaman hidangan khas Indonesia dan Timur Tengah. Hidangan makanan berupa makanan khas tajil berbuka puasa, seperti kolak, kurma, dan jajanan kue basah, juga hidangan utama, sebutlah nasi goreng kebon sirih, mi aceh, pidang patin, martabak medan, nasi kebuli, roti cane, sate afrika, doner kebab, dan lai-lain.

Selain booth-booth makanan, La Piazza, yang berlokasi di Sentra Kelapa Gading, Jl. Bulevar Kelapa Gading Blok M Jakarta itu, penuh dengan ornamen ala bangsa Arab, mulai dari oase, replika hewan unta, hingga kubah khas Timur Tengah. Ada panggung gembira yang menampilkan aneka hiburan yang bernuansakan Padang Pasir atau islami. (Abe)

Bright prospects for budget airlines


IF Tony Fernandes, the former deputy president director of Time Warner Music Southeast Asia had not gone into the budget airline or low cost carrier (LCC) business not many people would have heard of him.

Tony is aware that traveling is a major industry or business. He is also aware that many people will frequently fly. "And Asia is a huge ‘playground', because it is a large continent, which means a promising market," he says as quoted in the book The AirAsia Story written by Sen Ze and Jayne Ng.

AirAsia has been recognized as the most promising budget airline in Southeast Asia. By December 2002 in just seven months, the airline racked up a massive revenue of Rp 282.5 billion with a profit of Rp 48.5 billion. In the span of seven months AirAsia was able to carry about 1.1 million passengers.

The airline applies efficiency in all sectors so costs are kept to a minimum, there are, for example, no meals for passengers for flights of a short duration (maximum 3.5 hours) and no accommodation for the crew, low cost airports, paperless tickets and so forth.

AirAsia purchases its fuel by paying in advance to avoid future price increases. It covers the most promising routes and keeps on expanding so that by 2011 at least 60 aircrafts will be in operation. As a pioneering low cost carrier in Asia the airline, which is headquartered in Malaysia, keeps innovating in its promotions and operations. AirAsia is also currently concentrating on adding routes to cover international destinations including Australia, Europe, the Middle East and soon the United States. It is also adding new airplanes, the Airbus A320, which are being sent to Malaysia, Thailand and Indonesia in stages.

In Indonesia AirAsia has 14 aircraft, comprising of eight Airbus A320 and six Boeing 737-300 for 14 routes, both domestic and international. After its latest Bali - Perth route, another new route, Jakarta - Ho Chi Minh (Saigon), is being opened with four flights a week on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays. Ticket sales started on August 20 for flights from Sept. 18, 2009 until July 21, 2010.

AirAsia is actually not the first airline with a low cost carrier (LCC) concept as in Europe there are EasyJet, RyanAir and German Wings. And before these airlines there was Southwest, the pioneer of budget airlines.

In today's global economic downturn low cost carriers have indeed become the preferred option of many passengers. Many airline companies have turned to this business albeit only for short distance flights. "A budget airline is actually saved by domestic flights that take not longer than four hours," said General Manager and CEO of the International Air Transport Association (IATA), Giovanni Bizignani, in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, in the middle of this year.

The ongoing global economic crisis has had a negative impact on the airline business, while at the same time global oil prices show a continuous upward trend. Therefore, airline companies have to revise their loss figures for 2009 as profits are going down by about 15 percent. The number of passengers in 2009 is also predicted to be smaller, only 2.06 billion people, compared to the 2008 figure of 2.24 billion passengers.

To avoid being crushed by the crisis an airline company has to apply the following strategy: save fuel costs, ensure efficiency in all sectors, boost manpower productivity, strengthen reserve funds, arrange appropriate capacity on schedule and cooperate with other airline companies.

Indonesia has potential as the archipelago has many islands and a population of over 220 million, says president director of Garuda Indonesia, Emirsyah Satar. Currently Garuda has a major market in Southeast Asia. Passenger safety and comfort are very important, he adds, while the price of tickets can be reduced through Internet sales, which is one of the strategies applied by LCC.

A number of industry experts predict that LCC revenue will go up this year as passengers are switching from full service airlines, many of which are undergoing mergers due to decreased profits. (Burhanuddin Abe)

The Jakarta Post, September 03,2009